Sunday, November 10, 2013

Professional Photos: Saving MONEY

Everybody loves a good picture, right?!?!? With the holiday season quickly approaching us, we are probably all preparing for (or at least contemplating) family photos. I love receiving holiday cards in the mail with everyone’s best pictures! Unfortunately, hiring photographers can get pricey very quickly. I wanted to share with you how my household keeps that cost under budget.
Let me start by saying that, for my household at least, formal photos aren’t saved just for holiday cards. With a newborn, in a span of 6 months, we have wanted at least 4 different periods of professional photos (maternity, newborn, 3 months, 6 months). Add in a family photo session for our Christmas cards and we are talking 5 times we could have worked with a photographer!
The first issue I seem to run into is that I always seem to have a friend (or a friend of a friend) that is always telling us they would like to do our photos. Maybe it is just my luck, but those individuals seem to be outrageously expensive in comparison to other photographers. I do try to rotate them in, but I don’t feel I have to commit to the same person every time!

Here is my biggest money saving tip: Do them yourself! Here are a few of mine (all done by me, with assistance from the hubby):

We have a camcorder (purchased a few years ago) that can take pictures. I use this. I then use editing programs (Instagram and/or InstaFrame) on my phone or on my computer (Paint) and then send those pictures to my photo developing sites (Shutterfly or Snapfish). It’s that easy! Okay, maybe not, but let me give you a few tips:

¨       Spend time thinking seriously about what you want the picture(s) to look like. Consider how many people (or animals) will be in the picture. Consider what background will look perfect.
¨       Research online pictures that are similar to what you are wanting. These will guide you as you take your photos.

¨       If you want a nature background, spend some time exploring local areas around you. Find a spot that inspires you!

¨       If you want a solid (indoor) background, look for materials you have around the house that can be used. For instance, I have used a solid, neutral wall, a Moby wrap to create a background, and a piece of treated wood (was being used for another project). 

¨       Look for additional materials that can add to your photo that you already have around your house. For instance, I have used a bucket for my child to sit in, a pumpkin for my child to sit in, Santa/elf’s hats, road signs, etc. The list is endless, just be a bit creative and open-minded!

¨       Take TONS of pictures on the day of. You will be surprised when pictures you didn’t think you would like turn out to be your favorite when you start editing (happens to me each and every time)!

¨       Be patient. Sometimes a do-it-yourself shoot will take a bit longer than a professional, it will get faster as you learn!

As I mentioned before, I do use other photographers, too, occasionally. I wanted to mention that as I am rotating photographers, I still focus on getting a bargain. Here is how I do that:
¨       Like the photographer’s page on Facebook or get email notifications and watch for specials. Compare those specials with locals in the area to make sure they are competitive. 

o   Register to win any special offerings they may have! I actually won a newborn photo shoot this way (valued at $175).

¨       Find Facebook groups that sell items in your area or look on Craigslist for specials new photographers are offering. Individuals just getting started normally have great deals! I had one that offered as many pictures that could be taken in 1 hour, with all photos edited and copyrights released, for $50! The great thing about going through Facebook is you can see their work BEFORE you commit!

How do you save money on professional photography pictures?

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